Random Note Project comes to Mt. Lebanon

Gabrielle Bovard is the face behind the Random Note Project. She’s been putting notes up along poles in Uptown in the last few weeks.

Have you noticed the random notes popping up on light poles and buildings across Uptown? We saw them and wanted to know the story behind them. So, we did a little digging. 

Here’s the behind the scenes of the Random Note Project and how it made its way to Mt. Lebanon over the last several weeks.

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abrielle Bovard is always ready with a stack of notes in her purse and a roll of tape dangling from her wrist. Whether she’s on vacation in Australia or walking through Uptown to grab one of her favorite cookies, she sometimes feels inspired to leave a note of encouragement in her path, in hopes that others will feel seen. 

For Bovard, this practice started when she was a teen. She was experiencing the typical insecurities and struggles of growing up and trying to find her place in the world. Looking around, she noticed that she was not alone. No matter their age, a lot of people in the world seemed to be struggling with the same issues. 

“Things felt a little hopeless and I wanted to know that there was a little more to life than just the things that I was suffering from at the time,” she said. So she scribbled words of encouragement on a piece of paper and began leaving the notes in the most random places—from inside library books to on the side of a telephone pole. “I thought, ‘Wow! Maybe if I can start writing the things that I want to hear and the things that would be encouraging to me, other people can find them and they would be encouraged as well.” 

Bovard, who grew up in Scott Township, continued leaving the notes as she headed to college at Chatham University in Oakland. After graduation, she kept it up, leaving the notes wherever she went.

Adam Conkey found a series of notes in Oakland and wanted to know more about the mystery person behind them. So he created an email address and left notes of his own throughout Oakland, hoping Bovard would find them. 

She did, and the two worked together to create the Random Note Project. Conkey made the project’s website. Each note contains the web address for the project, and people who find notes are encouraged to snap a photo and submit them to be showcased on the website and Random Note Projects social media pages. 

A note from the Random Note Project left by Bovard on a pole in Mt. Lebanon's Uptown business district.
“You are good enough as you are.” A note left by Bovard on a pole in Uptown.

For Bovard, now 33, of South Fayette, the notes became like meditation. She encourages others to leave notes that speak to them. “Whatever you need to focus to get you through that day, whether it’s a great day and you just need to re-prioritize and keep going, or if it’s a tougher day and you need some encouragement to get through.” 

So how did these notes make their way to Mt. Lebanon? Bovard is a regular in Uptown. She jokes that she’s addicted to Uptown Coffee’s cookies (We get it!) In recent weeks, as she visited Uptown, she was inspired to leave notes of encouragement throughout the community. 

And she hopes that it will continue to take off and that others will begin to leave their own notes. She also hopes that people will realize, “No matter what you’re going through, it’s relevant and it’s important. You can get through it, but also use that to help other people get through what they’re going through.  That’s really the heart of the Random Note Project. It’s a love story that we can all share.” 

A note from the Random Note Project taped to a mailbox on Mt. Washington overlooking the City of Pittsburgh.
“Whatever you’re going through can be gotten through. Remember that.” A note left by Bovard on Mt. Washington overlooking Pittsburgh.
Click here to learn more about the Random Note Project.

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